United has had one of the best voluntary change policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
They allow you to choose between receiving a future flight credit (FFC) or an electronic travel certificate (ETC). I broke down the pros and cons of those options in this April post.
Selecting either option was as simple as clicking cancel on your itinerary and then selecting the option you preferred, which for most people will be the ETC.
United has even made it easier to manage ETCs by adding them to your account online and allowing you to redeem multiple ETCs for the same ticket.
I’ve seen several posts and comments this month about the ETC option being removed and sure enough, when I checked the only online option was future flight credit:
I called United and the agent that she was still able to offer an electronic travel certificate if that’s what I wanted.
I emailed United for comment on the change and they said,
“We are continually looking at ways to simplify the travel experience for our customers, and as part of that effort, we continue to offer Future Flight Credits (FFCs) to customers who are seeking to change or cancel their travel plans. While Electronic Travel Certificates (ETCs) served us well in a critical time during the pandemic, FFCs are a similar tool that can be used for travel on any United, United Express, or partner operated flights allowing our customers greater flexibility when they are ready to rebook their travel.
We are still offering ETCs to customers who would like to receive one. Customers now must call Contact Centers if they wish to receive an ETC. Customers holding ETCs can still redeem them on united.com as they did before, and we’re continuing to add new features to make them even easier to use.”
I pushed back for answers as to why it was removed online and whether United would let people know about future changes and was told,
“Calling to get an ETC is the most efficient way to streamline the credit process for customers. FFC will remain an online option. If any further changes are made to FFCs or ETCs they will be posted to united.com.”
I’m still not sure how the process has been simplified by making people call United and wasting United phone agents time with a process that was doable online, but there you have it. You can still get an ETC, you’ll just have to call for it.